Grief often makes thinking clearly, focusing and concentrating difficult. Even simple tasks can seem hard. You may feel very indecisive, or you may make impulsive decisions. Some people may even wonder if they are losing their mind.
Be kind to yourself. How you are feeling is understandable given that you have experienced the death of someone important to you.
If you are feeling confused and forgetful, it may be helpful to write things down.
Tips for managing jumbled thoughts
- Where possible, try not to make any major changes or decisions until you can think more clearly. People may hurry you to sort out clothes and personal items or decide where you will live long term. Don’t feel rushed – you are already adjusting to a huge change.
- Use a diary or online calendar or app to keep track of appointments or set reminders on your phone.
- Use apps like Gather My Crew to coordinate offers of help from family or friends.
- Ask others for assistance. They can help you sort out paperwork or, if you have school-age children, keep up with school activities.
- If you are working, talk to your employer about how much time off you need, changing your hours or tasks temporarily, or ensuring that your job will be there for you.
- Write about how you feel. Keeping a journal or writing down memories and thoughts can help you process the experience.
Podcast: Coping with Grief
A/Prof Lisa Beatty, Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology and Consulting Clinical Psychologist, Flinders University Institute of Mental Health and Wellbeing, SA; Sandra Anderson, Consumer; Dr Alexandra Clinch, Palliative Medicine Specialist and Deputy Director, Palliative Care, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital, VIC; Christopher Hall, Chief Executive Officer, Grief Australia; Nathan MacArthur, Specialist Grief Counsellor and Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, Sydney Grief Counselling Services, NSW; Linda Magann, Clinical Nurse Consultant – Palliative Care, St George Hospital, NSW; Palliative Care Australia; Richard Upton, Consumer; Lesley Woods, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Emotions and cancer
People who are affected by cancer in some way can experience a range of emotions, that can be very challenging to deal with at times. Learn more.
End of life
This information may help you better cope with end of life, or support someone who may be dying with cancer